“This morning protestors backed by Te Pāti Māori have attempted to block roads and disrupt the opening of Parliament and New Zealander’s lives just because they’re unhappy with the election result,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

"It's a sad day when a political party is protesting equal rights. They’re on the wrong side of history. New Zealanders want a respectful debate on the constitutional future of our country and that's what they've voted for.

"ACT’s Treaty Principles Bill and proposed referendum are needed to ensure a healthy debate on whether our future lies with co-government and different rights based on ancestry, or whether we want to be a modern, multi-ethnic liberal democracy where every New Zealander has the same rights.

“Te Pāti Māori doesn’t respect democracy in New Zealand. New Zealanders have elected a government to restore the economy, get crime under control, provide effective public services, and end division through co-government. The sooner Te Pāti Māori come to terms with what New Zealand voted for, and started providing some policy solutions that will help people instead of divisive theatrics that cause more division, the better.

“Back in October, when asked by Newshub what he would do if he could change Parliament, Co-Leader Rawiri Waititi said “I’m not a fan of democracy, because democracy is a tyranny of the majority.”

“This explains the behaviour of Te Pāti Māori, they’re not here to uphold democracy, they’re here to wreck it.

“Why did they contest the election if they intended to disrespect the result when it didn’t go their way? It’s heads we win, tails you lose.

“Te Pāti Māori Chair John Tamihere has specifically called out ACT Minister Karen Chhour’s work to ensure the best interests of the child are put before race-based factors enshrined in 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act. Te Pāti Māori are protesting against policies that will support the wellbeing of the most vulnerable and at risk children in New Zealand, a policy that will ensure more children get a chance in life and we can break the vicious cycle of trauma, harm and dependencies.

“They have done this today to coincide with, and disrupt, the official opening of Parliament. It is theatrics when New Zealanders just want their government to get on with fixing the many issues New Zealand is dealing with. They have no respect for the democratic processes that allow people to have their say on how New Zealand is governed. They’re also disrupting the lives of the many other Kiwis who just want to get to work and go about their business.

“ACT supports the right to peaceful protest. But that doesn’t mean stopping productive Kiwis from getting to work and disrupting democratic processes."

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